Unlocking handling potential

Published:  12 February, 2021

PWE takes a look at how two articulated forklifts ensured efficient storage and handling procedures

F or the past couple of years ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland, a leading UK supplier of safety and security door and window solutions for commercial, institutional and residential customers, has used two Aisle Master articulated forklifts from the Irish manufacturer Combilift to ensure efficient storage and handling procedures at its Cheltenham site. It also more recently took delivery of a Combi-CS pedestrian counterbalance stacker which works mainly in one of the manufacturing areas.

This facility specialises in the production of metal hardware for windows such as hinges, locks and handles, and comprises manufacturing and assembly areas together with two storage bays for components and finished products. The Aisle Masters were brought in on the advice of Mike Oseland of Briggs Equipment, who recognised that these could help to cut the overall number of pieces of MHE required on site. Their ability to work inside and out, for example, means that they can replace a combination of reach and counterbalance forklifts and can offload deliveries and bring goods directly into the racking.

Narrow aisle capability

This has been particularly beneficial in the finished goods store during very busy times, and, coupled with the trucks’ narrow aisle capability, has enabled extra space to be created within the building to incorporate a test laboratory. Aisle widths between bays that were once 3.1m wide to allow access for the reach trucks were narrowed down to just 1.9m. In the component storage area, the 15NE (1.5t narrow electric) Aisle Master models can work in existing aisle widths of just 1.73m, picking Europallets of raw materials weighing up to 1t to a height of 6m, to take them to the shop floor.

Planning and distribution manager Ian Griffiths also added that the old trucks were prone to breaking down, so the reliability of the Aisle Masters has avoided the inconvenience of down-time. The blue spot and red zone warning lights fitted to both trucks also ensure maximum safety.

The Combi-CS also won praise from tooling technician Carl Strout, one of the operators of this compact pedestrian truck, which is used primarily to exchange the bolster plates on the tooling presses. He commented:

“It’s the best bit of kit we’ve had here for the job…Training on it was straightforward, it’s simple to operate and all-round visibility makes for easy handling of loads. It’s also multi-purpose – I have used it for other lifting jobs too.”

The Combi-CS, with 1000kg capacity, replaced a conventional forklift and was recommended by Mike Oseland following the successful introduction of a Combilift pedestrian model at one of ASSA ABLOY’s other sites: “These stackers are a great alternative to ride-on forklifts as they can manoeuvre much more easily around narrow confines such as those between the presses and other workstations here on site.” He added: “Operation at walking speed enhances health and safety, particularly in busy manufacturing areas where a lot of personnel are in the vicinity. The patented tiller arm on these models also ensures that operators can stand to the side of the machine to avoid any crush risk when they are working in tight spaces.”

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